Lithograph of the Erie Canal at Lockport, New York c.1855
The Erie Canal is a canal in New York, United States that is part of the east–west, cross-state route of the New York State Canal System (formerly known as the New York State Barge Canal). Originally, it ran 363 miles (584 km) from where Albany meets the Hudson River to where Buffalo meets Lake Erie. It was built to create a navigable water route from New York City and the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. When completed in 1825, it was the second longest canal in the world (after the Grand Canal in China) and greatly affected the development and economy of New York, New York City, and the United States.
The canal was first proposed in the 1780s, then re-proposed in 1807. A survey was authorized, funded, and executed in 1808. Proponents of the project gradually wore down opponents; its construction began in 1817. The canal has 34 numbered locks starting with Black Rock Lock and ending downstream with the Troy Federal Lock. Both are owned by the federal government. It has an elevation difference of about 565 feet (172 m). It opened on October 26, 1825. Wikipedia
Learn more about the Building of the Erie Canal through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.
Articles and Clippings about the Building of the Erie Canal
Opinion piece says "state and city of New York are highly interested in the proposed canal" Tue, Nov 7, 1815 – Page 3 · Buffalo Gazette (Village of Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.comErie canal will increase inland navigation and give access to the Missouri Territory Tue, Sep 10, 1816 – Page 3 · Pittsburgh Weekly Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comCost projection for building the Erie Canal Tue, Apr 8, 1817 – Page 3 · Buffalo Gazette (Village of Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.com"Description of the great Aqueduct by which the Erie Canal crosses the Genessee river" Tue, Dec 16, 1823 – 2 · The National Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comExcerpt from article with details of the progress of Erie Canal construction as of 1824 Mon, Apr 12, 1824 – 1 · The Vermont Journal (Windsor, Vermont) · Newspapers.comReport that Erie Canal is increasing emigration from New York to other states Thu, May 20, 1824 – 1 · The Pittsfield Sun (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.comPassenger and commercial boats are using completed portions of Erie Canal before official opening Thu, May 20, 1824 – 1 · The Pittsfield Sun (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) · Newspapers.comPlans for the Erie Canal grand opening celebration Sat, Oct 8, 1825 – 4 · Buffalo Emporium and General Advertiser (Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.comOpinion that women of Buffalo feel left out of the Erie Canal celebrations Sat, Oct 22, 1825 – 3 · Buffalo Emporium and General Advertiser (Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.comAccount of the ceremonies surrounding the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 Sat, Oct 29, 1825 – 3 · Buffalo Emporium and General Advertiser (Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.comNewspaper prints speech given by Buffalo lawyer Sheldon Smith about opening of the Erie Canal Sat, Oct 29, 1825 – 2 · Buffalo Emporium and General Advertiser (Buffalo, New York) · Newspapers.comAd for freight and passenger ships on the Erie Canal, 1845 Tue, Feb 11, 1845 – Page 4 · New-York Tribune (New York, New York) · Newspapers.comImage of the first electric boat on the Erie Canal in 1893 Thu, Dec 7, 1893 – Page 6 · () · Newspapers.comImages of the Erie Canal over the years Sun, Nov 2, 1913 – Page 23 · The New York Times (New York, New York) · Newspapers.com"Rochesterians Active in Support of Movement for Erie Canal Construction" Sun, Sep 27, 1925 – Page 45 · Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) · Newspapers.com"Erie Canal Construction Unique Accomplishment in History of Engineering" Sun, Oct 4, 1925 – Page 51 · Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) · Newspapers.com"Problems of Erie Canal Construction Solved by Ingenuity of Workmen" Sun, Oct 11, 1925 – Page 49 · Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York) · Newspapers.com